I am fully aware that this may sound contradictory but, seriously, slow down your process! Don’t leap at publishing. You are likely to regret it. You need a plan.
It’s true that you can literally upload your words and see your book listed on Amazon and other sites within minutes. Okay, maybe an hour, by the time you fill in all the information and setup your royalty payment system.
But, it’s fast. It’s real fast. It’s…too fast!
Coordinating publication is not always as precise as one might like, unfortunately. A book may not literally be available as an eBook the very moment that it is available as a print book. Those are two different delivery systems. You can come close. You might even make it happen. But, chances are you won’t flick a switch and both will go online simultaneously.
More importantly, it doesn’t matter.
Unless you are a world famous author, readers are probably not poised at their keyboards, ready to hit the buy button the moment your book appears like they are when concert tickets go on sale. If, they are, I’d like to hear about your experience.
But, seriously, slow down. Take a beat.
Before you upload anything, create a schedule. Yes, a schedule. You are going to need to coordinate your marketing efforts based on that schedule.
I currently have a client who has an August release date on a book we started working on in January. I admire that. It’s smart planning. He teaches, does public speaking and podcasts. He has set a realistic expectation.
There are issues that you need to deal with that take time. You need to test that your text appears the way you thought it would. You need to make sure your cover art looks good. If not, you need to revise and upload—maybe numerous times until you get things just perfect.
Did you think your book was going to have text on the spine? It has to have a minimum number of pages in order for that to happen.
If your book is too slender for a spine, you need to add more pages. But, don’t just add blank pages. Get creative. Add a worksheet. Create a crossword puzzle using words from the book. Create pages for Notes. Add reviews. Add pages talking about other books or services you offer.
Createspace recommends that you take the time to buy a copy of your print book so that you can proof it. Lulu requires it. The process varies.
I highly recommend ordering a copy and looking it over meticulously. In my rush, I once spelled not one, but two, words wrong on the back cover of one of my own books. I’m always experimenting with decorative page number art. Sometimes it looks fabulous in print. Sometimes, not so much.
While you’re waiting for the book to arrive, you should have been writing press releases, planning your email campaign, organizing a social media blitz and creating landing pages. How many? Maybe 27. Maybe 4. As Jay Berkowitz, author of Ten Golden Rules of Online Marketing says, there is no magic number or perfect campaign. You have to constantly test to see what works with your customers for a given product. And, what works for one book may not work at all for the next one.
Then there are other time-sensitive issues like creating a pre-release campaign, or other distribution options that require a book be exclusive for a certain period of time. Read the fine print.
Your job is not done when you upload your book. You need to set up book-signings, rub elbows with other more experienced writers and connect, connect, connect.
My favorite book is not a current one. It is the Cluetrain Manifesto. I highly recommend reading it but I will give you the short version: business is a conversation. You need to be conversing with people. Some of them will become your customers. Some will become your Chief Enthusiasm Officer.
You need to build in time for executing your plan. Setting aside 45 minutes to upload your book is such a tiny part of what you need to be doing. As a writer, you have the advantage. A great deal of what needs to be done involves writing.
Just slow it down a bit. Create a spreadsheet. Use an Airtable Blog Editorial Calendar. Write like mad and schedule posts via a social media management tool. Create a Facebook Page. Your Wall where you post pictures of your kitten is not a Facebook Page. It is a Wall and serves a different purpose. You need a Page.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll start talking about being Serial. I’ve used the Serial concept in so many ways over the years. You may find it helpful, too.
In the meantime, I’ll give you a reading assignment. Talk about innovations in publishing, the Cluetrain Manifesto is available online for one penny.I bought the hardcopy back when it first came out, some 15 years ago.